TO: THE FRENCH PEOPLE
RE: UM… I THINK YOU KNOW…
It’s been a while. Remember, back in 1940, when the Nazis just kinda-sorta snuck their way through the Ardennes and the Low Countries into France? Remember? And it’s not like it was August, where you could at least say, “Well, it was ze summer and we close down all ze shops and ze museums. How could we defend ourselves against zis Nazis when we were on holiday?” The Germans invaded in June and your basic response was, “Table for 40,000? Zis way, please!” At least Poland was out-manned and ill-equipped. But it takes me longer to grow out my bangs than it did for you guys to go from “Bonjour!” to “And I’ll take some sauerkraut with that!”
Yes, I know. Along with your fabulous Vichy government, Lieutenant Marshall Petain and the rest of les collaborateurs, there was a French Resistance. Call me a cynic. I’m sure some of your countrymen’s hearts were in the right place, but I can’t help but think that the thought of your wine bars turning into beer halls was at least somewhat of a motivation. Your government seemed to hand over the French Jews to the Nazis likea housewarming gift. After all, we probably had all the toasters and coffee percolators…
So out went the croissants, in came the pfeffernusse, au revoir Bordeaux, Wilkommen, Reisland. The iconic footage of Hitler and fellow Nazi, architect Albert Speer standing in front of the Eiffel Tower – priceless. And the photo of the anonymous Frenchman weeping as the Gestapo marched into Paris? Why was he really crying? Because his nation was now overtaken by savage, heartless monsters? Because his country was being raped by some of the most barbaric fiends in history? Or because some American tourist asked for directions in French?
So, for four long years you were occupied by Germany. But it wasn’t so bad. Okay – so they looted the Louvre, hung a giant Swastika flag over L’Arc d’Triumphe, and the Left Bank stunk of Limburger cheese and Knockwurst.
Do you recall who saved your sorry derrieres in 1945? Who stormed the beaches of Normandy? No – say it louder, now – plus fort! C’est ca! The Allies! Almost 200,000 of those Allies were Americans. Yes, the same “ugly” Americans who, on a daily basis, devalue your most prized city, Paris, by roaming through the Jeu de Paume, down the Champs Elyse, wearing “I Heart Paris” t-shirts, shoutin out at patesseries from the 18th aggrandizement to the Left Bank, “Errr… how manyeuros will it cost me for one of those buttery crescents?” or, “I bet you named your Napoleon pastry after that there general guy!” I have nothing nice to say about Joe Stalin, but ecouter and don’t ever forget it — if it weren’t for the Russians and the Americans, you’d be saying “Danke Schoen,” every time someone lit one of your stinky Gauloises cigarettes. And, during World War II, more than half a million Jewish Americans fought so that you’d have the right to your bouillabaisse, your cassoulet, your crepes. They even let you keep your mimes. (Pretty much because no one else wanted them).
And how do you re-pay us? From the end of World War II until the past few decades, you’ve had to hide your anti-Semitism – c’est domage. You’ve done an amazing job confusing us considering you pretty much hate all Americans and then there’s the small subset of American Jews, (and all Jews, for that matter), whom you also hate. So, as an American who is Jewish, it’s – well –let’s just say we’re never confused.
Let’s talk about what you have in your favor, France. Excellent cuisine, great wine, the best fashion sense – yes, yes – the Parisian woman, whether she’s 17 or 77, always looks effortlessly put together. But maybe your women have been too heavily influenced by CoCo Chanel. A fashion visionary? Mais oui! And, not only a bona fide Jew hater, but a card-carrying Nazi.
Oh! Oh! You’re surprised? “Non! Not our little Coco! C’est imposible!” C’est vrai! Your haute couture guru was not only a Nazi sympathizer but a spy for the Nazis, beginning as early as 1941. Oui! She even held meetings with Heinrich Himmler. Yes. That Heinrich Himmler. So your petite “Coco,” of the Chanel bag, (and just because Jackie Kennedy wore it and dozens of “Real Housewives” still wear it, that fugly quilted bag with the chain strap, doesn’t make it look any less like a lambskin toaster cover), and the Chanel suit and the “Little Black Dress,” hadno problem with millions of Jews and millions more Catholics, Gypsies, disabled people and homosexuals being shipped off to concentration camps and gassed.
It has been, I am sure, quite difficult to control yourself for any length of time when it comes to hating Jews. It’s kind of like me and Haagen-Daaz chocolate chocolate-chip ice cream. While delicious, I know it’s not good for me, and might even evoke scorn and rolled eyes by the legions of size triple zeros staring me down in the frozen food section. I can resist it for months and months and then suddenly, usually after a nice Chinese dinner, my willpower just disintegrates and I must have it. Sort of like you and anti-Semitism. “I don’t hate the Jews because they are Jewish, I don’t hate the Jews because they are Jewish, I don’t hate the Jews because they are… and, then the willpower goes right out the door and your unfiltered thoughts just fly out of your mouth. “I love Hitler!” and “Your parents should have been gassed!” and oops — all of your contributions to B’Nai Brith and the Shanah Tovahs! On Rosh Hashanah – right out the window.
Galliano. Chanel. Is it something about fashion designers and anti-Semitism? Strange, since so many fashion designers – Tory Burch, Diane von Furstenberg, Calvin Klein, Zac Posen, Elie Tahari, Sonia Rykel, (I’d include Ralph Lauren, nee Lipschitz, so he probably doesn’t want to be included, particularly because his clothing shouts, “You! Jew! This is for the goyim in Cos Cob, Connecticut! Step away from the pleated khakis and no one gets hurt!”).
So Galliano spewed his filthy, hate-filled anti-Semitic remarks in, of all places, La Marias, the Jewish Quarter, in Paris. Talk about irony. And let’s not forget your tres drole comedian Dieudonne M’Bala M’bala. I can’t figure out what’s downright more funny – the stateroom scene in the Marx Brothers’ classic film, “Night at the Opera,” or this hugely repulsive M’Bala M’Bala, ( why is his last name “times two”? More threatening? Easier to remember? Don’t want to get him confused with the M’Bala with just one surname?), who, as he tells his quite receptive French audiences, out for an evening of drinks and laughs, thaHolocaust Remembrance is “memorial pornography.” As Stars of David dance across a screen and the sound of trains taking Jews to concentration camps and certain death play in background at a typical M’Bala M’Bala concert-concert, the audience just guffaws. And this Cameroonian-French fat racist tells his audiences, “I am not an anti-Semite,” which makes me wonder what the audience tells itself as it laughs and applauds. “Je ne suis pas antisémite! J’adore Jerry Lewis et Woody Allen!” et “nous avons besoin d’ une autre Bergen-Belsen!”
Fine. You have profiteroles and nifty ways to tie a scarf. But you don’t have an Iron Dome, something you might want to seriously consider before taking to the streets with your anti-Semitic posters. Is it any wonder that thousands of French Jews are moving to Israel? “C’est bon!” I can hear many of you cry. And as Vichy France moves north, you wonder why so many of us are so torn. You know – “I love France. Except for the people.” I’ve been to your country. I’ve shopped Les Galleries Lafayette and visited Les Halles. I’ve walked your boulevards, climbed the steps of Sacre Coeur, mastered your Metro , been pick-pocketed by your – well, you know who your pick-pocketers are… I schlepped through the Louvre and the Pompidou Centre, rummaged through schmatas at your St. Ouen Flea Market, eaten in your brasseries and bistros, though my favorite memory of your country was watching one of my fellow Americans try to open a door in Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors.
I know, French people, you feel victimized. After all, there’s enough anti-Semitism in Europe to around. Why should I pick on vous when there’s the Brits, the Scots, the Germans, the Belgians, the Turks – oh my – let’s not leave out those Turkish Delights.
Definitely that M’Bala M’Bala gives you a bit of an edge. Or maybe it’s because I hate pâté. Then there’s the air space you wouldn’t grant us when we were going after that humanitarian Momar Khadaffi. Is it simply ennui or is it your inability to take a stand on anything other than that Beaujolais Nouveau must be released in November? Heck, perhaps it’s Maurice Chevalier, or the fact that the musical Les Miserables seemed longer than the June Rebellion of 1832.
But it’s probably because you have that…um…how can I put it?… you possess… I cannot seem to find the words…ah, yes…comment dit-on? Ah yes –that certain little je ne sais quo. Au revoir, France. No chicken soup for you. Next!